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The Latest: New governor pledges millions more for wildfires

January 9, 2019

COLFAX, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on governor’s wildfire plans (all times local):

3:45 p.m.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is pledging to invest tens of millions of dollars to fight wildfires and deal with their aftermath.

He said on his first full day in office Tuesday that the money will go toward more trucks and aircraft along with mental health services for firefighters and other emergency responders. It would also help two California counties recover from property taxes lost due to wildfire destruction.

About two-thirds of the $305 million has already been approved by lawmakers.

He plans to push for a fee on customers to turn the state’s 911 infrastructure system digital in coming years.

He’ll spend “tens of millions” to aid Lake and Butte counties with lost property tax revenue.

Newsom is keeping former Gov. Jerry Brown’s emergency operations leaders. He appointed Thom Porter the state’s new fire chief.

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11:10 a.m.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom plans to unveil new plans for dealing with wildfires and other emergencies.

Newsom will announce his actions Tuesday at a state emergency operations center in a Sierra Nevada foothills community at high risk for fire.

It’s one of Newsom’s first actions after becoming governor Monday.

California suffered a deadly and devastating 2018 wildfire season. A November wildfire destroyed the town of Paradise, Calif., and killed 86 people.

Newsom’s office says he’ll take executive actions that “prioritize and accelerate” the state’s response to fires.

The new governor will also have to confront the thorny issue of how much responsibility utilities should hold when their equipment starts wildfires. Utilities want lawmakers to change the state’s liability standards, some of the strictest in the nation.

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